APL Photonics (Jul 2020)

Enhancing the modal purity of orbital angular momentum photons

  • Isaac Nape,
  • Bereneice Sephton,
  • Yao-Wei Huang,
  • Adam Vallés,
  • Cheng-Wei Qiu,
  • Antonio Ambrosio,
  • Federico Capasso,
  • Andrew Forbes

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 5, no. 7
pp. 070802 – 070802-9


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Orbital angular momentum (OAM) beams with topological charge ℓ are commonly generated and detected by modulating an incoming field with an azimuthal phase profile of the form exp(iℓϕ) by a variety of approaches. This results in unwanted radial modes and reduced power in the desired OAM mode. Here, we show how to enhance the modal purity in the creation and detection of classical OAM beams and in the quantum detection of OAM photons. Classically, we combine holographic and metasurface control to produce high purity OAM modes and show how to detect them with high efficiency, extending the demonstration to the quantum realm with spatial light modulators. We demonstrate ultra-high purity OAM modes in orders as high as ℓ = 100 and a doubling of dimensionality in the quantum OAM spectrum from a spontaneous parametric downconversion source. Our work offers a simple route to increase the channel capacity in classical and quantum communication using OAM modes as a basis.